Ahmed Mohamed to Participate in White House Astronomy Night


Image Courtesy of LM Otero/AP

The Texas teen who was arrested after school officials and law enforcement mistook his homemade clock for a bomb will be participating in the White House’s Astronomy Night this week. The event, which brings together scientists, engineers, and teachers for an evening of stargazing on the South Lawn, was billed to encourage young people like Mohamed to take further interest in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math.

Now a Household Name

The 14-year-old made headlines after he was detained by school administrators and subsequently arrested by law enforcement after his homemade clock was mistaken for a bomb. The incident, which inspired the hashtag #StandWithAhmed, led to praise and free stuff from a number of tech companies.

President Obama himself extended an invitation to Mohamed on Twitter last September after the White House learned that he was arrested.

In the tweet, Mr. Obama wrote: “Cool clock, Ahmed. Want to bring it to the White House? We should inspire more kids like you to like science. It’s what makes America Great.”

While the teen did not exactly have a lengthy discussion with the President, they did speak briefly, with Mr. Obama giving him a hug. Ahmed, however, was not able to bring the controversial clock, with the teen saying that he had been too busy traveling to get it and bring it with him.

The Debate About Islam


Image Courtesy of AP

The self-professed tinkerer recounted that he had built the digital clock at his home in Irving and had taken it to school to show it to his engineering teacher. The teacher, though impressed, told him not to show it to other teachers.

It wasn’t until later when police arrived after a teacher reported a “suspicious” beeping noise. Although no charges were filed, Ahmed left his school, MacArthur High, and is now being homeschooled.

Ahmed’s detention was instrumental in the increasing awareness and debates about Islam, immigration, and ethnicity. The controversy that surrounds the inventive teenager even extends to his family. His father, Mohamed El Hassan, immigrated from Sudan and twice ran for that country’s presidency, with many media outlets criticizing Ahmed for visiting Mr. Bashir.

Ahmed’s visit to the White House will mark his latest rendezvous with world leaders and luminaries. The teen has visited Google, the Turkey Prime Minister, and even met Queen Rania of Jordan.

On October 20, he will be attending a press conference with Silicon Valley representative Mike Honda, where the two will discuss a letter the Democratic congressman sent to Attorney General Loretta Lynch, which urged the Department of Justice to investigate his arrest.